Citing a lapse in the Nation’s defense infrastructure that could allow a low-flying missile to strike strategic targets, the Pentagon is planning to deploy blimps that will hover indefinitely at high altitude over the Washington, D.C. area.
The Department of Defense will place two surveillance blimps over Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland later this year, ostensibly to fill a gap in the DoD’s ability to spot incoming cruise missiles near the capital. The unmanned aircraft will reportedly use radar to monitor the lower reaches of the atmosphere, signaling interceptor missiles to destroy the incoming bombs.
The blimps carry radars that can search for hundreds of miles to detect the launch of a cruise missile and relay the data to interceptor missiles which have been positioned around Washington since Sept. 11, 2001.
The blimps also carry the capability to track moving vehicles on the ground with radar and cameras. “That would give the government the ability to follow American citizens as they go about their daily lives,” reports CBS News.
The DoD maintains the military has no intention of taking advantage of that feature, although civil libertarians are skeptical.
“Right now there are no rules. There’s nothing that bars us from having high-powered cameras monitoring our every public movement,” the ACLU’s Christopher Calabrese told the network.